A Piece Of My Past Gets Erased

I’m noticing that as I get older, I’m deriving more comfort from reminders of the past. Whether it’s familiar sights, music, foods … they all bring back memories of a time when I was young and had a lifetime ahead of me.

So I guess it was inevitable that I would find myself back in one of the neighbourhoods where I lived before my life as a parent began.

Back in September, I wrote about the area of the city I lived in when I first moved to Toronto.  You can find that post here.  From that sleazy area, I then moved into one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the cities.

Toronto Life magazine once described Rosedale as “a locale of choice for multimillionaire urbanites”.

former-rosedale-homes3
Just down the street from my former apartment, I would happily call this beauty, home.  Santa?  Are you listening?

Not that I was (or am) a multimillionaire … just a wannabe who lucked into an amazing deal of an apartment in an old 3-storey Victorian home.

My roommate – a coworker – and I had the entire 3rd floor attic which had been converted into a very large 2 bedroom apartment.  I felt like I had moved into a fairy tale.  We were young, extremely ambitious, and knew how to play hard.  That 3rd floor walk-up fueled our dreams of the future.

rosedale-homes4
I’m pretty sure I was meant to live somewhere like this.  I need to have a talk with my financial planner.  There’s clearly been a mistake.

I hadn’t been back in the old ‘hood since I moved out over 30 years ago (it’s frightening to be talking about decades ago when reminiscing), but imagine my surprise when I discovered my former home was gone.

Yes. Gone.  Erased …. like a piece of my history never existed.

former-rosedale-homes

It was a corner lot on a triangular piece of land and it now appears that the neighbouring home annexed the property and converted it into a parking lot to expand their backyard.

Of course, the apartment building I later moved into was still there.  The squat, ugly building somehow managed to survive, while the beautiful Victorian did not.

former-rosedale-homes2

If there is a lesson in here somewhere, I’m not seeing it yet.

 

 

102 comments

  1. Both the house my mother grew up in and the one I grew up in are gone. Completely erased. Not a tree, not a bush. Monstrous houses built from fence to fence to replace them. I’ve always found it somewhat distressing. At least I’d had warning they were gone. I can’t imagine going looking for a piece of your history only to find it disappeared. 😦

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  2. Do you suppose the Victorian house burned down, Joanne?
    The song about taking down paradise and putting up a parking lot crossed my mind. . .
    I would love to live in One Big Room of these gorgeous Rosedale mansions, Joanne! 🙂 So, once you finalize your moving plans and get all of it squared away, could I just reside in the attic or room off the rooftop? Please, I will pay rent which will buy your groceries! Ha ha 😀

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  3. I have long referred to myself as THE DISCONTINUED WOMAN, Joanne….it seems all those staples I so enjoyed over the years….my favourite shoe type, my favourite style of clothing, music I like, my favourite haircut, eyeglasses, etc. have all be consigned to non-existence one by one the older I get. I do miss them! I haven’t had this experience you have going back to find a place I lived has disappeared, but I can imagine how surreal that must be. Sometimes, I wonder about this word they call progress….

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    • Ha! There is nothing *discontinued* about you … but I know what you mean 😉

      The turning point for me was when I discovered that everything has a cost. Progress can be wonderful … but there is still a cost, and often I wonder if the price was worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. After a lifetime of living in and around Toronto and still working in the heart of downtown I am so disheartened at the destruction of the heritage buildings. Mansions and condos seem to pop up like mushrooms… Bound to be worse when, like your old place, it hits you personally:-(

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    • I’m not sure which is worse … the unnecessarily large McMansions or the ubiquitous condo towers with their tiny matchbox units.
      As I’m out searching for these heritage buildings on the list I found on the internet, occasionally I discover that the building no longer exists. It was neglected for so long, it was no longer salvageable. Last weekend I found several – all in a row – that are likely not going to be there in a year from now. Will probably become a new condo tower. It is sad.

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  5. ‘Progress’ is a cantankerous old bugger.
    Good luck on the medical front, Joanne. Susan (my Mrs) came off her bike yesterday and has some stitches over her left eye as a memento. Bloody cycling….
    Very saddened by the passing of Leonard last week but it’s good to play his stuff. His lyrics invariably raise a smile 🙂

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    • Oh no!! Stitches around the eye can never be a good thing! I think most people don’t realize how dangerous cycling really is.

      I admit the news of Leonard Cohen’s passing came as a bit of a shock. I guess I thought he would be around for a very long time 😦

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  6. Aw, what a shame! But you still have your memories of it and those lovely pictures. Memories are a double edged sword with me; it’s nice to reminisce but I can often get pretty tearful when I think of how quickly the years have whizzed by and of people/places/experiences that aren’t with me anymore.

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  7. Hi, Joanne – I totally understand the feeling. The home that I grew up in was torn down in order to build a much larger, much uglier (IMHO) house. The parking lot piece is even more annoying!
    Donna

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  8. This post reminds me of why pictures are so dear to me…they can’t be erased! The house I lived in when my daughter was born was torn down and a newer bigger house took it’s place.

    But the house I grew up in still exists, much nicer looking than when we lived in it. My dad sold it for 70k in the late 1970s. Being right in the heart of the expanded Silicon Valley, it’s now worth 1.5 million! If only we’d waited before selling. The irony of it all is that it is the same square footage as our project house…location, location!

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  9. It is always startling to see a place you lived in erased. The whole area where I lived my first 6 years in Alaska was torn out and a hotel was put there. It is surreal to visit.

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  10. Oh no. That is so not right, so not fair, so not good. I’m missing it, too. :/

    When we were headed back to Indiana after The Mister’s service, I looked at the townhouses I lived in when I was single. I knew they were big enough, in the right schools, and they’d make nice temporary digs. We chose to live with his parents for five months. The cost of living has gone up much more than pay, and that’s all I can say about that.

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    • Rosedale is a wonderful place to take a walk if you love grand homes. I had forgotten how truly grand it was and enjoyed myself on this excursion … even if I did manage to get lost twice and ultimately discovered the target of my mission was gone!

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  11. Oh, wow. visiting old haunts is such a two-edged sword. I can’t imagine going back and finding a house I lived in gone. Such a shock.
    Gorgeous buildings and fantastic pictures. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    A village house we lived in during mid-1950 is still standing and better than ever. It has a nine-ft basement now.

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  12. Hey Joanne, I wonder if the building was mold infested? you know and the cost of repair was too great.

    also – the parking lot does seem to be lackluster replacement…..

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  13. I lived in a Victorian in downtown Portland way back in the 70s – I’m sure it probably hasn’t survived. It wasn’t in that great of shape and shook during wind storms. But I do have fond memories.

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  14. So ad to find it gone? do you suppose it fell into such disrepair it was demolished. Let’s hope that was the reason and not just bulldozed for progress.
    Any news from the fracture clinics?

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    • My guess is that it was worth more to the owner to sell it, than to try and maintain it. I still think it would have been an awfully expensive parking place for the neighbour!

      News from the fracture clinics wasn’t great. Misha’s foot is definitely broken and he’s on crutches and in an air boot for the next 6-8 weeks.
      Meanwhile, my shoulder hasn’t healed at all in the past 2 months. I’m now looking at surgery next Monday.
      It just keeps getting better and better :/

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  15. My parents’ former home has been bought by a developer who has not been kind to it by all accounts. I don’t think I shall be going to see for myself. It still looks pretty good in my memories and photo album.

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    • I’m guessing these old homes can become a monster to maintain. If the owner doesn’t have deep pockets, the big dollars offered to take away the burden becomes very enticing. That neighbour bought a very expensive parking spot.

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  16. Memories are wonderful when they lift us up . . . and not so much if they make us maudlin. I have a bittersweet relationship with my own memories. Sometimes I am happier when I do not re-visit them too often.

    That looks like quite a neighborhood to “start out in.” I used to want to own a mammoth Victorian with 3 separate turrets for writing and painting and playing the guitar. Now the idea of all those stairs holds no appeal. 🙂

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    • That’s the problem when your starter neighbourhood is upscale and then the real world creeps in.
      Our first home after I married and moved out of this area was several big steps down!!

      The stairs wouldn’t necessarily be the issue for me … it would be cleaning and maintaining it. I would want it to come with its own live-in staff 😉

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  17. What a crying shame someone would tear down a beautiful old Victorian home like that Joanne ☹️ It’s almost as bad as having a reality show star elected as President 😳

    Seriously I’m surprised a house like that was not protected under some national historic society law.

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  18. I can relate to this… the house I grew up in has been demolished and a new property built in its place. The plot has been raised and re-levelled – no trace remains of my father’s beautiful rose garden that he used to tend with such dedication, or the chestnut tree I planted as a kid.

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    • My childhood home is gone now too … although I came to terms with that years ago when my brother first approached me about rebuilding on the lot. If it had been me, I would probably have done the same thing.
      … but when the special little pieces are gone – like your chestnut tree – it feels empty. Like a loss.

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      • Yeah, the house, I understand that rationally, needed to be torn down. It was badly built and wasn’t worth renovating. A community hall now stands in its place – a handsome building, and one that serves the whole village. Still, every time I walk past it, I feel a twinge. More for the tree and the garden than anything else. We’re getting old 😉

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    • The problem with memories is that we have a tendency to scrub them a bit. If they were good, our memory is shinier and vice versa.
      My memories are very shiny, so I’m going to stick with that 🙂

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    • I feel the same way, Diana. I had heard about people buying the adjacent property in some neighbourhoods in order to increase the size of their property, give more privacy, build a bigger house … all kinds of reasons.
      I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it did make me sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s sad when old, beautiful buildings get torn down, especially when uglier (and perhaps newer) ones are still standing. It must have been weird to be looking for it and finding it wasn’t there.

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  20. I find it sad when something you hold such memories of, is suddenly no longer there. It is not so much the structure itself, but more the emotions of the time you spent there. I do hope Santa is listening to your request though, that way you could make new memories in this neighbourhood & I, of course, would come to visit!

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    • Thank goodness for that. I think our memories define us … our past certainly has made us who we are today, for better or worse.
      There are just some things I thought would always be there, but it appears I’m wrong. Maybe that’s the lesson … appreciate all the details of today, because tomorrow doesn’t provide any guarantees.

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  21. What? How is that even possible? And who would want to pull down such a beauty? Surely worth more as a property than a yard? Or maybe you got the wrong corner… says she hopefully.

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